Popular Cancer Drug Now Being Considered for Visual Problems Can Cause Kidney Damage According to Study

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A study to be reported in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) concluded that bevacizumab may cause kidney damage as a result of severe loss of protein from the kidney into the urine. Conducting a review of published randomized controlled clinical trials to assess the risk of severe proteinuria in patients taking bevacizumab tresearchers reviewed data from 16 studies comprising 12,268 patients with a variety of tumors. Results showed that severe proteinuria occured in 2.2% of patients taking bevacizumab and when compared to patients taking chemotherapy alone patients taking bevacizumad combined with chemotherapy had a 4.79-fold increase risk of developing severe proteinuria and a 7.78-fold increase of developing nephrotic syndrome–a group of symptoms including protein in the urine, low blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and swelling.
Those taking higher doses and those with kidney cancer had the highest risk of developing proteinuria when taking bevacizumab. More information is available at: American Society of Nephrology (2010,June 12). Popular cancer drug can cause kidney damage, study finds. Science Daily Retreived June 13, 2010 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100610171708.htm

In a second study in the online British Medical Journal researchers looked at bevacizumab to determine if it is a safe and effective treatment for wet AMD, the leading cause of visual loss in people over 50. They compared the group taking bevacizumad to those receiving standard National Health Service care (NHS) in England. Although not approved for eye problems it is currently being used as a cheaper alternative to the approved ranibizumab to prevent wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) by some people.
One hundred thirty one patients with wet AMD were randomly assigned to either bevacizumad injections at 6 week intervals or to standard NHS care. Visual acuity was measured at the start of the study and monitored over 54 weeks. Results showed that at one year 32% of the subjects in the bevacizumad group gained 15 or more letters from their baseline acuity compared with 3% in the control group. In addition, those who lost fewer than 15 letters from baseline were significantly higher in the bevacizamad group (91%) than the control (67%). There were also fewer severe adverse effects in this group. Although this study shows the drug may be effective for eye problems based upon these findings, much more testing should be carried out to determine its safety it would seem.

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